Is British Airways a Good Airline?

British Airways is a full-service airline that flies to more than 200 destinations worldwide.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 
Edited by Meg Lee

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If you travel internationally, you may wonder if British Airways is a good airline. After all, competition is fierce when it comes to airlines courting your business.

Happily for those considering British Airways, it fares pretty well overall.

Let’s take a look at the airline, the routes it flies, its partners and more so you can decide if British Airways is the right choice for your trip.

Why fly British Airways?

British Airways is a full-service airline, so you’ll generally receive more amenities as a passenger than you’d find on a low-cost carrier. These amenities include a range of cabins (economy, premium economy, business, first class), complimentary catering on eligible flights and access to airport lounges.

This means that if you value the customer experience over budget, British Airways might be a good fit. British Airways has a robust loyalty program (called Executive Club), it has many international destinations and it partners with a variety of airlines.

Finally, British Airways is rated a four-star airline by Skytrax, one of the most authoritative experts on quality airlines. While this is one star short of the maximum, it does illustrate that British Airways is considered a high-quality airline overall.

British Airways route network

British Airways can be a good choice for international flights, as it has a route network spanning more than 200 destinations. Odds are you’ll find a British Airways flight to wherever you’re going. Based in London, British Airways operates flights to 28 U.S. airports, including less common options such as San Diego, California, and Nashville, Tennessee.

British Airways partners

British Airways is a member of the Oneworld airline alliance, which includes American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways.

British Airways partners with additional airlines, including China Southern, Loganair and Aer Lingus. Here's a full rundown of how to transfer British Airways Avios. (Avios are British Airways rewards points that can be redeemed for travel.)

🤓Nerdy Tip

Airline partnerships allow you to earn and redeem loyalty rewards with multiple airlines. Even better, many partnerships allow you to plan a seamless travel experience. For example, you can book a flight with British Airways that connects onward to partner American Airlines and have the whole trip on a single itinerary — plus your checked bag will be transferred automatically from one airline to the other.

British Airways’ loyalty program

British Airways Executive Club is the airline’s loyalty program. There are three levels of elite status: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Status is earned by collecting Tier Points each year. Points can be redeemed for flights, upgrades, vacation packages and more.

Members with elite status enjoy a variety of benefits, including free checked bags, airport lounge access, priority boarding and priority check-in.

As a member of the Executive Club, you’ll earn rewards points called Avios every time you fly. These can then be redeemed for flights on British Airways or its partners, including flights from domestic partners such as Alaska and American.

🤓Nerdy Tip

"Avios" are a mileage currency shared by British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Qatar.

Beyond its travel partner brands, British Airways is a transfer partner of four flexible points programs. Members can transfer points to British Airways from the following programs at a 1:1 ratio:

Should you fly British Airways?

We’ve already outlined a few reasons you may want to consider flying with British Airways, but another factor to consider is which airlines you fly domestically.

  • If you’re located at a United Airlines hub, for example, British Airways may not be the best choice for you. United is a member of Star Alliance, so you’d be better off sticking with other Star Alliance airlines, such as Lufthansa, Air Canada or Swiss Airlines.

  • If you tend to fly American or Alaska, you may want to give British Airways a try. This is especially true if you’re trying to earn elite status with American or Alaska. Because these airlines are partners with British Airways, you can choose to credit your British Airways flights to American or Alaska to earn bonus miles and elite status credit.

Saving money on British Airways flights

The British Airways Visa Signature® Card offers a 10% discount on flights from the United States to London and beyond. If you travel at least once per year, this can make up for the card’s $95 annual fee.

Chase British Airways Credit Card

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

NerdWallet Rating
Annual fee


It’s possible to score an additional discount if you’re a member of AARP. Although AARP is generally thought of as an organization for older folks, there's no age requirement to join. AARP members are entitled to discounts on British Airways flights:

  • $65 off an economy class ticket. 

  • $65 off a premium economy ticket.

  • $200 off a business class ticket. 

The bottom line

British Airways is a full-service airline flying to more than 200 destinations worldwide. You’ll have your choice of cabin when booking, plus you’ll be able to enjoy benefits such as free checked luggage (on eligible flights) and complimentary food and drinks.

British Airways is a member of the Oneworld alliance, which means American and Alaska flyers may want to travel with British Airways when going abroad.

(Top photo courtesy of British Airways)

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

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